By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s cross country team was happy to do what most of us would want nothing to do with. The Warrior runners took on some of the best competition in the state, including possibly the best team in class 1A, ran 3 miles on a steamy morning, and dodged cow chips in the pastures surrounding Chrisman.
Coach Dustin Dees’ squad traveled east Saturday morning to take part in the annual Cow Chip Classic which boasted 26 teams and more than 400 runners overall.
Out front for the third year coach on the boys’ side was senior JD Barrett and for the girls it was sophomore Brynn Tabeling. The duo led the respective teams to a 10th place finish for the boys and a sixth place effort for the girls. The finish was made despite the alternate format that launched runners in flights, which kept the Warriors from running the course with their usual pack mentality feeding off each other.
Barrett was tenth overall, running in the championship flight and crossing the finish line in 17 minutes 21 seconds. Fellow senior Noah Woods took his tour of the Illinois farmland in the second flight and captured ninth, turning in an 18:03. In the third flight for coach Dees was Mason Day, taking eighth with a time of 18:28, while Jake Dyer took 13th in the fourth flight with a 20:20. Freshman Logan Wallace was the only Warrior to collect some hardware ending the day in sixth in the fifth flight with a personal best 19:03, turning in the fourth best time for the Warriors on the day.
Nick Woods was 11th in the sixth flight, and Tanner Campbell was 9th in the seventh flight. Jordan Middleton led the way in the open race for Tuscola taking 27th out of 127 runners entering the chute in 20:41. Caleb Haste, Riley Nolan, and Jacob Middleton all competed in the open race for Tuscola.
Tabeling was 12th in the championship flight with a 22:38. Next up, in the second flight, was senior Ashton Smith who took ninth with a 23:23. Hannah Hornaday went up and down the hills in 26:41 to take 13th in the third flight. Competing in the fourth flight was Kenzie Heckler who took eighth with a season best 25:16, while Faithlynn Daugherty took 16th in the fifth flight, and Hannah Lemay ended up in eighth place in the sixth launch. Kyla Gough was 12th in flight seven, and Samantha Simpson, Emily Kemp and Jackie Watson all competed in the open race for the girls.